In the words of Johnny Cash, “I’ve been everywhere man, I’ve been everywhere”. That’s how we feel after this day that seems to have been at least 48 hours long.
We began at the Coliseum this morning where you can see our chaperones were prepared for battle. I’m sure every Italian thought “here come the Americans” with these two enthusiastic teachers leading our charge. We then walked to the Forum and enjoyed a wonderful guide who was able to paint the picture of ancient Roman times quite effectively.
We saw the Circus Maximus where they once held chariot races and now host concerts and the balcony where Mussolini stood to address the masses.
On to Vatican City! We toured the Vatican museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica–each of which deserves its own post, but I’m exhausted! It’s quite an expectation you’ve laid out for me so that I feel obligated to post before bed each night as I know many of you are checking (according to my stats about 300 people in addition to those who subscribe through an RSS feed).
There were lots of purchases at the Vatican and this was a special part of the day for many in our group. We spent some time visiting a large Square which the name escapes me (maybe Piazza Noveno?) but there were artists and I was able to purchase an original oil painting, something I do on every trip as my way to remember it.
This was followed by a visit to the Pantheon which is equally remarkable to the rest of the day’s visits. Visiting Rome with its thousands of years of history really gives me this enormous sense of time and place that we don’t have in the US. It’s reassuring to me in a way–as if to think that all of the things we’re so worried about now are quite small given the course of our entire world history. I wonder if others feel this way? I was also struck by the enormous lengths we go to in expressing our faith in the colossal buildings that we construct. Why does each religion seem to try to outdo the others in displaying a faith and love of God through these extraordinary measures? It makes me think a lot about the troubles in the Middle East.
After so much history and a very long day (but in a good way) you might think our day was done. But no! After dinner, we walked to the Trevi Fountain, where we threw coins into the fountain while making a wish. The wish I made while doing this in 1999 obviously came true as there I was today, back in Rome as I had wished for back then. This night walk was just a lot of fun and we were treated to an Italian gelato (Grimm’s fifth one of the day, I think!) and a walk to the Spanish Steps. Our small town kids from Gowanda had eyes that showed excitement and happiness at this bit of night life. It was so much that I hope they remember it all. I know that writing on this blog will help me hold onto the details, I hope our kids are using their journals.
On to Florence, Italy tomorrow. We’re entering some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. It truly was worth every penny we paid–don’t regret it for a moment. Love again from Italy, Kimberly